Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
Adrian Gomez: I have been creating in a serious manner for about five years now. It all started when I took my first liberal arts class at Shoreline Community College. It was an intro to ceramics course taught by Matt Allison, a local ceramics artist. To be honest, I didn’t expect much from it, but I soon realized how much I loved the medium and the process so I stuck with it. Although the main medium in my work is ceramic, I am open to using all sorts of materials if they fit both conceptually and aesthetically.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
There are generally quite a few steps when it comes to making a piece of work. It often includes doing research on the topic, building the piece, firing, finishing and lastly making the appropriate stand or installation furniture. Once I have an idea or topic that I want to make work about, I generally start to do research. This generally includes imagery of the object I am trying to represent as well as information on the topic I’m trying to convey. Accurately representing a topic or group of people is important to me so I make sure I take my time in doing so. Once I have the imagery and research done I create the piece which is usually built by hand and rarely involves the use of the throwing wheel. When possible, I try to dry the piece slowly because it helps prevent cracks during the firing process. After firing the piece in a kiln at roughly 2000F., I’ll either glaze it and re-fire it or simply treat it with acrylic paint washes and seal it with various materials. Lastly, depending on where the work is going, I’ll make an appropriate stand or pedestal for the work. Most recently these have been welded using 3/8” steel round bar.
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art come from?
The inspiration for my work comes from being US-born with Mexican and Guatemalan origins. This includes being raised and living in a Latino household, experiencing life and seeing the issues that arise. These inspirations have driven me to make work about my experience and interpretations of the experience of the Latino community. I make work that explores the constructs of immigration, identity, and the classification of the “other.” I make to inform just as much as I make to represent my culture and its people.
Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
Past work has focused on labor issues, appropriation, the shift of identity upon entering a new society, and issues involving borders in ideology and physical geography. All of these different topics simultaneously discussed my identity and informed people on topics that they perhaps didn't know existed.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
The piece titled "Niño de Oro ca. 1715" means more to me because of the surface treatment. It was the first piece that I made that had this "white washed" or layered surface on it. The surface on the bust is important because it questions the identities of the Spanish conquistadors and hints to the possibility of dual cultural identities.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
I think always being surrounded by people that come from different backgrounds and beliefs has really influenced my work. It makes you think a lot about your audience and how the work can relate to them. I don’t change my work because of that reason but I take into consideration my approach. It really makes you aware of what you are making and in what contexts it is most successful.
What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re excited about?
I recently started school at Temple University in Philadelphia where I will be attending Tyler School of Art as a Post-baccalaureate student. As I’m just starting my new semester of school I like to start it off by just getting my hands on some clay, we will see what happens!
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
I prefer tea.